Philippine Congress Doubles Subsidy For Islamic Schools

December 12, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 12, 2007) – Sulu provincial Governor Sakur Tan lauded the Philippine Congress for doubling the allocation for the government’s Basic Education Madrasah Program.

The increase in funding will enable the government to train additional teachers in English, Arabic and Islam, develop new instructional materials, and rigorously monitor the performance of a new standard, Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

He said the Basic Education Madrasah Program seeks to lift to the national average the learning level of Filipino-Muslim school children. Madrasah is Arabic term for school.

“We welcome this development and surely this will be a big help in the Madrasah program,” Tan told the Mindanao Examiner.

Sulu in the southern Philippines is one of five provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is specifically targeting the training of 2,668 teachers as well as the production and distribution of 800,400 new textbooks to reinforce the Basic Education Madrasah Program, according to Gullas.

The textbooks set for distribution next year is 50 percent more than the manuals being distributed this year, Gullas said.

Government-subsidized Islamic schools offer the standard public school curriculum as well as Arabic literacy and Islamic religious subjects.

Without counting the schools in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, DepEd currently has 459 public schools nationwide implementing the Basic Education Madrasah Program.

Gullas said the fresh funding for Islamic schools would give more meaning to the Constitutional mandate for the State “to establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society.”

A report by the DepEd earlier warned that decades of neglect have made tens of thousands of Muslim out-of-school youth (OSY) in Metro Manila and other urban districts susceptible to recruitment by both Islamic extremists and criminal elements.

Many of the Muslim OSY are products of extreme poverty and the lingering armed conflict in Mindanao, the report said.

To address the problem, DepEd has been building up the Basic Education Madrasah Program as well as the Alternative Learning Program for Muslim OSY.

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